Can you believe that holiday season is right around the corner (Thanksgiving is just 2 weeks away – eek!)? My favorite part about this time of year, aside from the abundance of scrumptious foods, is seeing friends and family. The holiday spirit usually brings out the best in people, making it that much more fun to maintain and create new traditions. Whether we are hosting or visiting loved ones, I really enjoy giving cheerful homemade mementos as a token of our love and appreciation. These are a few of the recipes that have caught my eye recently. Just wrap up any of these in a box/tin/jar/bag, add a sweet note, and you have a present that anyone would enjoy.
Yesterday marked Arin’s one month birthday! It feels like we have known him for much longer than that. Having two under the age of two is no cakewalk, oh the struggle is very real. But the lack of sleep and time all seem like a tiny price to pay when I catch Arin smiling or see the bond that is already developing between the brothers. Rian is very affectionate towards Arin, always wanting to hold his bottle or give him a tight hug or a juicy kiss. He knows all of Arin’s belongings and is always fetching them for us. Rian has regressed in his sleeping schedule since Arin’s arrival, awaking at least once each night. I think he sees the attention that Arin receives when he first awakes and wants the same for himself. But, I know things will get a bit easier as the boys grow and we fall into a more predictable routine. More
I pride myself on being a thoughtful gift giver. Picking the right present for someone is an art. I factor in the occasion, the person’s personality and taste and keep a loose budget in mind. Dare I say that I may like shopping for others more than shopping for myself at times? Bold statement, I know, but it may very well be true. I also love receiving a good gift (who doesn’t?). Even if it is something that I will use rarely, I always appreciate the thought behind the present. This is the main reason that I don’t have the heart to re-gift or return. I’ll only ever do either if I really have no use for the present or if I have something identical. Recently, we have been receiving many gifts (clothes, blankets, toys) for Arin. My favorite thing to do, as a thank you, is to take a picture of Arin using the present and send it to the gifter. After all, gifts are meant to be used and loved.
Do you believe in re-gifting or returning presents? (Be honest now!)
Thank you Miss Maria (Rian’s daycare teacher) for Arin’s outfit!
In the immediate weeks after giving birth to Rian, my default dress code included leggings, joggers, yoga gear, sweatshirts, and loose, tunic-like tops. My love for assembling an ensemble was over-ridden by the adjustments of early motherhood. With Arin, I now know that having a routine, a very flexible one, is a crucial factor in maintaining my happiness. With Rian, my days solely revolved around him and it took a real toll on my mental and physical health. Now, I make a conscious effort to have my meals on time, get dressed every morning, read my favorite blogs, keep up with the news, and carve out some alone time with Maithil. At times, the only alone time we have is the two to three minutes it takes me to drive him to the train and then pick him up in the evening. It also gets me out of the house and gives me a reason to pull myself together. Seeing that “you look pretty” look in his eyes or even receiving a complement is quite the motivator these days. More
With two kids, having any personal time is a rare luxury. Feeding Arin (breastfeeding or pumping) is my time. With Rian, I was slow to catch on to this notion. But, once I went back to work, I would pump and answer work emails simultaneously. Then, I started watching shows and movies during that time. Now, I use feeding time to read, create grocery lists, shop, plan, and of course, watch and listen to anything interesting. Most recently, I watched a documentary about the life of the 93-year-old witty, free-spirited fashion icon, Iris Apfel. Made by Albert Maysles, the film really captures her beliefs, showcases her unique eye for detail and brings in a real human element by having commentary from her husband. I still recall the first time I saw an image of her – I was an intern at Coach and came across a photograph of her by our creative studio. Something about her eyes made me curious to learn more. I have followed her work since then and my respect for her has only grown over the years. There is a lot one can learn from her and namely, one quote has really stuck with me. Iris says is best with, “I feel lucky to be working. If you’re lucky enough to do something you love, everything else follows.”
Image via Vogue Italia, 2007 by Bruce Weber
It’s been ten days since we welcomed our second son, Arin (pronounced aa-rin) Desai Patel, into this world. Arin was born on October 16, 2015 at 5:45pm, weighing almost 7 pounds and measuring almost 21 inches. The entire Arin experience, everything from the pregnancy to labor and delivery to recovery to ten days into being his mom has been different than the Rian experience. During the pregnancy, I had more cravings, heartburn and hip pain. Both labor and delivery were quicker and calmer this time around because I knew what to expect and my nerves did not get the best of me. Once I got to the hospital, my only emotions were joy and excitement. Doubt and nervousness never consumed me. Maithil stayed with me during my hospital stay post-Rian. However, this time, even though we had the help of my parents with Rian, I convinced Maithil to spend the nights at home. He would come and visit during the day but at night, it was just me and Arin and a very friendly staff of nurses. This way, we all got some semblance of rest and Rian never felt like both of his parents had vanished. I was now also fully aware of the post-delivery aches and pains as well as the woes of breastfeeding, and the lack of surprises kept me in a positive and mellow mood. Last time, I was actually scared to leave the hospital and go home because of my lack of confidence in handling a life so tiny. Not this time. Newborn diapers, swaddles, sponge/bath time, I was prepared and looking forward to it all. I also really missed Rian and Maithil and was ready to be home with my boys. Finally, I definitely suffered through a period of postpartum depression last time. I still have my moments of feeling down (hello hormones) but overall, I am keeping to my goal of taking active steps to keep myself smiling.
Thus far, Arin has a calmer disposition than Rian did at this age. When he’s not eating, sleeping or dirtying his diaper, he just hangs out without a fuss. He’ll just look around and focus his attention to the source of light or noise in the room. There is something just very laid-back and chill about him. One of the coolest things we have noticed is that he focuses on Rian’s voice anytime he is around. Something tells me that they already have a brotherly bond between them. Rian loves saying “baby” and “Aya” and is always eager to hug and touch Arin. I can’t wait to see their bond develop over the years.
Welcome to the family Arin, we are so thrilled that you chose us!
After nearly a year of living within white walls, our house finally has some color. It is my first real effort in making this house feel like a home with character and personality. Decorating with kids is tricky but I am putting a stake in the ground – having young kids should not keep us from enjoying our home and Rian and the baby will have to have more defined boundaries within the house. More
I caught some version of the flu over the weekend. And no, the flu shot does not prevent you from getting the flu, especially if your immune system is down (thank you pregnancy). On Monday, I felt like Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail where she’s on her laptop (unlike her, I’m working from home and not chatting with a love interest) in her pajamas with severe congestion and tissues everywhere.
Side Note: This is also the week that we are getting our house painted. Ambitious, I know, since I can potentially go into labor soon.
But, I digress. In my state, I am not able to cure my cold/flu with the wonders of over-the-counter medication. This is where Mama Desai comes in. She is the master of at-home remedies. Here are a few of her ayurvedic concoctions that always seem to help:
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder (image above) in 6-8 ounces of warm water (add a pinch of salt if you really cannot stand the taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon of honey, 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger juice and a couple of drops of fresh lemon juice. Mix well and have it three times a day.
- Chew 4-6 tulsi leaves (holy basil) a couple of times a day.
What do you take when you are under the weather?
A drop in temperatures due to the hurricane has me craving some retail therapy. It may also be the side effect of of the Fall fashion coverage in all of the magazines and the fact that all of the stores are starting to bring in their Fall collections. Here are some of the pieces, all under $50, that have caught my eye:
My first pregnancy spanned through the winter months, which meant that I could get away with a lot of tights and over-sized sweaters. This time around, being pregnant in the summer months made me a bit more self-conscious about my wardrobe choices. Dresses were the easy choice but many fit a bit awkwardly as I got bigger solely in the belly area. The one dress that does make me feel beautiful the minute I put it on is this floral Simply Vera by Vera Wang hi-low number with pockets (bonus!), one of the many articles of clothing I borrowed from my sister-in-law for the third trimester. She is exactly one size larger than me so anything flowy on her is perfect for baby bump. About 3 more weeks to go! More